Stokes’ blazing ton, late wicket put England on top in Bridgetown
SUMMARY: England 507-9 dec. (Joe Root 153, Ben Stokes 120, Dan Lawrence 91, Chris Woakes 41, Ben Foakes 33, Alex Lees 30, Jonny Bairstow 20; Veerasammy Permaul 3-126, Kemar Roach 2-68, Jayden Seales 1-55, Kraigg Brathwaite 1-59, Jason Holder 1-76, Alzarri Joseph 1-109) lead West Indies 71-1 (Shamarh Brooks 31*, Kraigg Brathwaite 28*, John Campbell 4; Matthew Fisher 1-18) by 436 runs
Report and Photography by Akeem Greene in Barbados
Ben Stokes smashed his way to an 11th Test century, and that along with handy lower-order contributions has given England a strong grip of the second Test at the Kensington Oval, Barbados.
England drilled into West Indies’ misery with 507-9 declared and then nipped out John Campbell to leave the hosts 71-1 at stumps.
Campbell steered debutant Matthew Fisher through backward point for four off his first delivery, but next ball he nicked behind, much to the immense jubilant of the debutant.
Still behind by 436 runs, West Indies’ first mission would be clearing the follow-on target of 307 on a pitch that is beginning to offer some turn for Jack Leach, which hints he could profit from these conditions in days to come.
Much will rely on the in-form Kraigg Brathwaite and Shamar Brooks, who have waded off the expected late-afternoon burst from the English.
STOKES STEALS THE SHOW
Given the flat deck, West Indies had managed to keep a lid on England on day one. Day two was far from the same and largely down to the power of Stokes.
All eyes were on Joe Root, and whether he could turn 119 into a sixth double-century, however, Stokes made Root a shadow, as he raced to fifty of 73 balls with a massive six off Veerasammy Permaul.
It was the ‘match-up’ Stokes was waiting for and he truly took advantage of the natural angle into him and was ultra-aggressive toward the left-arm spinner.
Permaul was not the only one in the firing line with Stokes taking 20 off an Alzarri Joseph over– smashing three consecutive fours and a six (along with two leg byes).
It was like limited over cricket with a red-ball.
By lunch, England reached 369-3– a whopping 125 runs in the session as compared to 47 in the opening session of day one. The architect of the onslaught, Stokes, was 89 from 92 balls with 11 fours and four maximums.
Root, who reached his 12th score of 150 or more, succumbed to one from Kemar Roach which nipped back a bit and trapped him on the crease, ending the potential match-changing stand of 129 from 164 balls.
Stokes kept going hard and reached his third century against West Indies, from just 114 balls. It was a mundane celebration for the man who brought the Barmy Army to their feet with a thundering applause.
The in-form Johnny Bairstow added further impetus with a quick 20 from 38 balls until he held out to deep square-leg.
Back-to-back sixes and chancing for a third off the part-time off-spin of Brathwaite, Stokes eventually fell for 120 (11x4s; 6x6s) from 128 balls. Of course, the close to capacity crowd, dominated by the English, rose to their feet again, to usher him off.
Chris Woakes and Ben Foakes added 75 in 115 balls and it dragged England past 500 for the first time since the Chennai Test in February 2021.
In the quest for quick runs, the lower-order was wrapped up by Roach and Permaul, who got some purchase that hinted at what is to come on the remaining days.